By Eoin Ryan
TD Damien English resigned as Minister of State at the department of enterprise after discrepancies in a planning application he submitted in 2008 were discovered.
English failed to disclose to Meath County Council he owned a bungalow in Castlemartin he inherited from his father when applying for permission to build a new home.
The council only granted permission for one-off dwellings to local residents who didn’t already own a house, and who can prove they have a housing need during this period.
He said he was living at the family home and had lived there for the past 30 years, failing to mention the bungalow he owned.
“Yesterday in an online article, questions were raised about my planning application from 14 years ago,” Damien English said in a tweet. “I reviewed this application, made in 2008, and it is clear to me that I failed to inform Meath County Council about ownership of my house in Castlemartin.
“This was wrong, not up to the standard required and I apologise for doing so. I would like to thank the people of Meath West for their ongoing support as their TD. I will continue to serve them and work hard on their behalf in the constituency.”
Minister for Finance Michael McGrath has said the resignation of Damien English underlines the need for reform of ethics in public office. He said the government will bring forward legislation to give more power to the Standards in Public Office Commission, an ethics watchdog, later this year
“I believe that legislation will be brought forward by the Government over the course of this year and we do need to finally update and modernise and strengthen the framework for ethics and public life because events like this only serve to damage public trust and confidence in politicians and politics,” McGrath said.
Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond is his replacement as minister of State at the department of enterprise.